UCT considers legal options as fees sit-in continues

2017-04-01 18:52
The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

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Cape Town – The University of Cape Town is seeking legal recourse to end a sit-in by some students protesting against financial exclusions, the tertiary institution said on Saturday.

"As of this morning, Saturday…the Bremner building at the University of Cape Town remains occupied…The Bremner occupation is unacceptable," said the university’s spokesperson, Elijah Moholola, in a statement.

"The executive has now begun a legal process to remove the group from the Mafeje Room," he said.

Moholola said the latest action only came about after the executive offered to engage with the students but to do so outside the Bremner building.

"The students have refused," he said.

"Significant progress" had already been made in terms of a number of the demands.

Nevertheless, said Moholola, "some of these demands – especially the demand that no black student should be excluded academically or economically – go far beyond the agreement between the executive and the student representatives".

"This demand cannot be met by the UCT executive."

The sit-in by about 30 students began late on Wednesday. The students have apparently been unable to register for 2017 because they failed or do not have money to continue.

Staff working in the section were told not to come to work. On Saturday, the university said it would still notify them when they could return.

Previously, Moholola explained that on March 29, about 73% of all cases that were handled by the readmission appeals committee were successful.

There had been 645 total appeals received, 473 successful appeals, 157 unsuccessful appeals which would all be reviewed, and 11 still pending.

On March 22, about 89% of the appeals handled by the financial aid appeals committee were successful (1 312 total appeals, 1 173 successful, 80 unsuccessful, and 59 pending).

He said UCT’s executive would help as many academically and financially eligible students as possible.

"However, it is an inevitable reality that there might still be a few cases of legitimate exclusion due to valid reasons."

The sit-in organisers are collectively known as the Shackville TRC, a group which evolved from the Fees Must Fall and Rhodes Must Fall movements.

Earlier protests led to the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the university, a fee freeze for 2016, and conditional fee increases for 2017.

Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  education  |  student protests

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